As 2018 approaches, new trends in social media mean taking a fresh look at your social analytics tools is a good idea. Here’s what you’ll need your tools to do for brand success in the New Year and beyond:
Differentiate between similar channels
You may think one social network is as good as another as far as what’s on offer, i.e., images, text, video, but it’s hardly that simple.
For example, Instagram, Snapchat, and even Facebook now offer Stories for social users to build and share in the short term. These Stories then vanish forever, making them that much more enticing to your followers while they’re there. But these three channels are very different in the ways they engage social users overall – so it’s crucial to know where your audience is most engaged, and why.
Be sure your social analytics tools can assess what draws your audience to a particular channel and what content they crave while there.
Tools that grow with changing technology
From Chatbots to Artificial Intelligence to Augmented and Virtual Reality, the ways we communicate through technology is evolving. Social analytics tools must constantly evolve as well – to offer consumer insights on these burgeoning technologies so brands know how much to incorporate them.
If you’re using outdated tools that don’t keep up with the changing consumer tech landscape, you won’t be able to compete for your share of tomorrow’s audiences. In fact, social monitoring will be the only way to know if these technologies are helping or hurting your brand. With new tech especially, there’s no setting it and forgetting it. You’ve got to keep a close eye on analytics to ensure your customer experience isn’t suffering or the sake of trying something new.
Customer service monitoring and response
Many brands have been slow to adopt social customer care strategies – to their detriment. It’s no longer optional to manage customer care on social media – and you must respond quickly. Your tools must monitor social in real-time, alerting you to customer service issues in time to stop them from going viral.
This is particularly important with new customer care channels like Chatbots. Remember, if you use Chatbots they don’t take the place of human intervention. Pay close attention to consumer attitudes here.
Voice search analytics take on new importance
The likes of Alexa, Siri and Cortana mean consumers are using their voices to search more than they’re typing or swyping. To ensure prominent spots in search results, you need to know what consumers are looking for, and that means analytics. This will fall under paid media, but of course won’t negate owned and earned media. All three will continue to be important, and viewing this converged media in one shot will be an increasingly crucial feature for brands.
Trust and the value of influencers
A big theme throughout 2017 has been “fake news.” Whether you believe it exists or not is irrelevant to the seed of doubt it plants in consumers’ minds. Trust is more important than it’s probably ever been, and building that trust relies on messaging that happens consumer to consumer. Tools that measure sentiment and engagement accurately are paramount to identifying brand influencers who will bring their followers to your brand.
Consumer attitudes shift too quickly to adopt a wait and see approach. For this reason predictive analysis will take on a more prominent role in 2018.
Says Shift Communications’ Christopher Penn, “A company with excellent predictive analytics will have a significant advantage in cost reduction and customer service over a company which guesses at when demand will be highest … Data science, machine learning, and artificial intelligence should make public relations easier for most companies, from predicting when customer interest will be highest to identifying potential crises and mitigating them before they explode.”
Given that last part, ability to integrate with other business software is another item you want checked on your social analytics tools list.
According to Smart Insights, “In 2017 90% of all content shared by users on social media is video.” That means you need to know exactly what your audience loves if you want to grab their attention before competitors do. Social listening and sentiment analysis to understand what drives views and shares will be table stakes in 2018.
The basics still apply
Along with new trends, it will always be important to monitor social media for customer service issues, opportunities to increase personalization, and competitor activities.
Don’t let new tech or trends trip you up – just apply social monitoring best practices to these new areas to add to the insights your brand uses to stay on top. It’s not about reinventing the wheel – it’s about knowing which wheels will take you farthest.
And if your social analytics tools aren’t up to the task, ask us how we can help you do more.
Image from Chris Potter